Niger endured austere military rule for much of its post-independence history and remains today one of the world's least-developed nations. Prone to drought, the country sometimes struggles to feed its population. Niger’s main export, uranium, is vulnerable to price fluctuations and agriculture is threatened by the encroaching desert. While on oil exploration and gold mining have the potential to boost Niger’s fortunes, food insecurity is the recurrent bottleneck and the country ranks last out of 187 countries in in the 2013 Human Development Index.
How We Are Helping?
UNCDF is helping Niger to address its development challenges through several projects combining inclusive finance and local development.
The “Projet Appui au Développement Economique Local (PADEL II)” Programme aims at ensuring that people of the Maradi region have access to public and financial services to promote local economic development and to improve food security, lowering the incidence of weld and reducing malnutrition. The project is jointly supported by UNCDF, UNDP, the Government of Niger and the Belgian Fund for Food Security (BFFS).
The Local Cross-Border Initiative (LOBI) programme, which, by nature, covers several countries in the region, aims at strengthening cross-border governance in the West Africa region through the definition of regional and national strategies and the promotion of pilot cross-border local development processes.
UNCDF is also setting up the diagnostic tool Locally Owned Knowledge = Inclusive Growth (LoOKING). This tool helps to assess the functioning of the local authorities in Niger and to assist them in finding appropriate solutions regarding their management and governance.
UNCDF plans to expand its YouthStart programme in Niger. YouthStart and it aims at increasing access to financial services for low-income youth in sub-Saharan Africa.